MSU Pledge Eyeing UNC Visit

Defensive tackle Caleb Tillman is committed to Mississippi State, but he's listening to other schools. From UNC, he's not just hearing a lot from the Tar Heel coaches, but a Tar Heel commitment as well.

North Carolina pledge Tyler Pritchett is back making an impact on the recruiting front. This time, he’s working in his backyard.

“He’s my No. 1 recruiter,” Caleb Tillman said with a laugh. “After him it’s Coach [Tray] Scott and Coach Kap [Chris Kapilovic]. I text with [Pritchett] all the time. He called me about a week ago talking about how he loves North Carolina. He just tells me to come get a feel for it. He’s not telling me to de-commit or anything – he just wants me to go see it. He wants me to give it a chance.”

Despite his commitment to Mississippi State, Tillman, a 6-foot-3, 250-pound defensive lineman from Dothan (Ala.) Northview, plans to take Pritchett’s advice and visit Chapel Hill.

“I’m going up there this summer,” Tillman said. “I don’t have an exact date yet, but I know it’s going to be end of May or June – definitely before the end of June.

“First of all, I want to see the campus. Second of all, [I want to learn] about its academics. And third, I want to see the football facilities. I just want to get a feel when I get there – I want to meet the coaches, the players, and the recruits.”

Absent a campus visit, Tillman’s UNC knowledge is understandably limited.

“Of course, I know [Michael] Jordan went there,” Tillman said. “Tyler told me they have a couple nice restaurants around the campus. He told me there are a lot of places to eat and have fun.”

Playing at high schools in different classifications, Tillman and Pritchett have never met on the football field on Friday nights. Nonetheless, Tillman is keen on the idea of playing alongside Pritchett on Saturdays.

“It would be pretty fun,” Tillman said. “We’re both ‘Bama boys, so we can take care of each other.”

Pritchett isn’t the only one recruiting Tillman for UNC. Kapilovic, who spot recruits in Alabama, has been communicating with Tillman for nearly a year. When Kap offered Tillman a scholarship about a month ago, the contact shifted more towards Scott, who coaches UNC’s defensive line.

Scott actually made an evaluation visit to Northview last week.

“He wants me to come to North Carolina, of course,” Tillman said. “And then he said he could see me playing a lot of different positions and be versatile on the D-line.”

Specifically, Scott projects Tillman to play strong-side defensive end but then move to defensive tackle on passing downs. Similarly, he lines up at both tackle and end for Northview, where he compiled 50 tackles and six sacks last season.

“It’s fun, because I get to play different positions,” Tillman said. “Sometimes, playing three-technique you get double-teamed a lot more. But on the end, it’s one-on-one, man-versus-man and that’s just fun for me.”

UNC is among 13 schools to have offered Tillman. Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Louisville, Memphis, Mississippi State, and Ole Miss are some of the other programs to have offered.

“I’m solid to Mississippi State, but I’m enjoying the recruiting process,” Tillman said. “I’m going to go visit other schools. I’m just going to see what other schools have to offer. It’s still early in the process.”

In addition to UNC, Tillman, who last visited Mississippi State for its spring game a month ago, plans to visit Ole Miss and return to Georgia Tech this summer. He said he also may include a trip to Kentucky.

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